2014 Hall of Fame Inductees - Nomination & Selection Criteria
The Clayton State Athletics Department announced last fall plans to establish a Hall of Fame and is now excited to recognize its first class of inductees.
From nominations, which were open to the public, the Clayton State Athletics Hall of Fame Committee has selected four members for the initial class. The first class will include: retired Athletic Director Mason Barfield, former men’s soccer player Alex Dowling, former men’s basketball player Carlos Head and former women’s soccer player Nkiru Okosieme.
“We are very excited to be able to have a platform on which to now recognize those individuals who have meant so much in the success of Clayton State University Athletics,” says Athletic Director Carl McAloose.
The Hall of Fame Class of 2014 will be recognized at a Hall of Fame dinner on Friday, Feb. 14 and also recognized at Homecoming festivities on Saturday, Feb. 15. The Clayton State basketball teams host Peach Belt Conference opponent Montevallo for homecoming next month.
“This initial class of the Clayton State University Hall of Fame includes the architect of the department’s success, Mason Barfield, and three student-athletes who exemplify what a student-athlete is supposed to be,” McAloose continues. “Alex, Carlos, and Nkiru competed not only at a national level in their sport but also excelled in the classroom while at Clayton State. All four of these inductees made huge impacts while at Clayton and certainly can be great role models for our current and future student-athletes.”
A native of Hahira, Ga., Barfield served as Clayton State’s first athletic director and first men’s basketball coach. He laid the groundwork for the program, beginning in 1990 and oversaw and led the program for more than 20 years until his retirement in 2011. The University also recognized Barfield by naming the basketball floor at the Athletics Center in his honor in 2012.
Barfield was instrumental in establishing the Laker sports programs in the early 1990s and also in Clayton State’s transition to NCAA Division II in 1995. He also served as the school’s first men’s basketball coach from 1990-95.
After the first few years of transition into the Peach Belt Conference, Laker Athletics began to take shape at the Division II level in 2000. Under his leadership from 2000 to 2011, Clayton State won 15 Peach Belt Conference regular season championships and finished conference runner-up on 12 occasions. In addition, Laker teams won eight Peach Belt tournament titles and finished as tournament runner-up four times, establishing Clayton State as an elite power in the league.
At the national level, Clayton State teams advanced to the NCAA Division II National Tournament 48 times during that span, including three “Final Four,” six “Elite Eight” and fourteen “Sweet 16” appearances. The culmination of that success was in 2011 when the Laker women’s basketball team captured the school’s first NCAA Division II national championship.
A native of Benoni, South Africa, Dowling was a four-year letterwinner (2001, 2003-05) and one of the most decorated men’s soccer players in Laker history. He was a two-time NCAA Division II All-American in 2004 and 2005, a two-time NCAA Division II All-Southeast Region selection and a two-time All-Peach Belt member.
Dowling served as the team captain and sweeper on the second and third best Clayton State defensive teams in Laker soccer history. The squad posted a .72 goals against average in 2004 and a .73 goals against average in 2005, and both defenses ranked among the nation’s best.
He also helped lead the Lakers to a trio Peach Belt Conference Championships, the 2001 and 2005 Peach Belt Conference Regular Season Championship teams and 2005 PBC Tournament Championship. During his tenure, the Lakers advanced to the NCAA Division II “Sweet Sixteen” on three occasions in 2001, 2004 and 2005.
Dowling was a recipient of Clayton State’s Laker Award in 2006, given to Clayton State’s top student-athlete each year. He graduated in 2006 with a 3.2 GPA and a bachelor’s degree in Management (BBA).
A native of Morrow, Ga., Head was a four-year letterwinner (1990-94) and played on Barfield’s first basketball teams. After more than 20 years in men’s basketball , he still holds many of Clayton State’s all-time records.
Head is the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,682 points. He ranks second all-time in games played with 114 and third all-time in games started with 78. He ranks first all-time in field goals made with 608 and first in all-time in field goals attempted with 1,287. Head ranks second in 3-point field goals made with 132, third in all-time in rebounds with 523 and third all-time in steals with 125.
He led the Lakers to school’s first championship, the 1993-94 Georgia Athletic Conference Championship. He averaged more than 18 points for the team that finished the season with a 25-7 record, Clayton State’s best record in men’s basketball. He was selected to the NAIA All-District All-Freshman team in 1990-01 and to the All-Georgia Athletic Conference Team in 1993-94.
Head graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Management (BBA) in 1995.
A native of Onitsha, Nigeria, Okosieme was a three-year letter-winner (2001-02 & 2004) for the Clayton State’s women’s soccer program. Okosieme was a NCAA Division II All-American in 2004 and a three-time All-Southeast Region selection in 2001, 2002 and 2003. She was the Peach Belt Conference Player of the Year in 2004 and named All-Conference all three years. She finished the 2001 season ranked second in the country in scoring with 33 goals on the year.
At Clayton State, Okosieme ranks second in single season scoring with 33 goals in 2001 and second in single season assists in 2004 with 10. She also ranks second all-time in goals scored at Clayton State with 64 and second all-time in assists with 24. She led the Lakers to their first NCAA Division II national tournament appearance in 2004.
Along with her standout career at Clayton State, Okosieme also played in four World Cups for her native country of Nigeria (1991, 1995, 1999, 2004). She scored three goals in her World Cup career, including a goal against the 1999 World Cup Champion U.S. squad.
She was a two-time winner of Clayton State’s Laker Award in 2003 and 2005 and the only female Clayton State student-athlete to win the Laker Award twice. Okosieme was also the recipient of the Bumbalough Academic Award in 2005, holding the Clayton State’s highest GPA among all female student-athletes.
Okosieme graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology with a 3.8 GPA and a master’s degree in Health Administration with a 3.9 GPA.
NOMINATION & SELECTION PROCESS
The Clayton State Department of Athletics will be accepting Hall of Fame nominations for next class on an on-going basis until next fall. For more information on the nomination process and selection criteria, visit http://www.claytonstatesports.com/HallofFame/Criteria.